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GaryBFitzgerald Profile
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Winter Walk Without Snow


           Winter Walk Without Snow


We walk through scattered forest’s leaf
           larynx floor which whispers
           the pulse of every startled snake,
bird.
Frost wind sings softly, conflicting
with fungal fresh scent of week old rain
and new growth.

           The humus of
           death, the decay…
           and the worms
           eat
the leaves
           and the life
feeds the trees which

all died last October.





Copyright 2006 – Specimens – Selected Poems
Dec/16/2009, 3:39 pm Link to this post Send Email to GaryBFitzgerald   Send PM to GaryBFitzgerald
 
Katlin Profile
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Re: Winter Walk Without Snow


Gary,

Oh, I love the line:
"larynx floor which whispers"

I also really like these lines for both the sound work and the observation they make:

". . .conflicting
with fungal fresh scent of week old rain
and new growth"

"humus of death" is also very good.

My one nit is that the next to the last stanza feels like it has too many the's in it, but since there are very few the's in the first two stanzas, I assume the usage is deliberate. Care to fill us in on the reasoning between your choice?
Dec/16/2009, 7:49 pm Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
GaryBFitzgerald Profile
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Re: Winter Walk Without Snow


Yes. I care. It means:

The life.

The death.

The rebirth.

The Tao.

The basis of every known religion, Neanderthal to Pope:

The difference...

the same.

The.


Dec/16/2009, 9:33 pm Link to this post Send Email to GaryBFitzgerald   Send PM to GaryBFitzgerald
 
Katlin Profile
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Re: Winter Walk Without Snow


After learning about the structure of your ant poem, I knew you must have had a specific reason. So, the the. All those the's combined with so many one syllable words (which I just noticed) emphasizing and pounding home the relentless, inevitable circle of life. Well, that's what I got out of your explanation anyway. Thanks for giving one, btw. When you can't figure it out by yourself, it can help to understand why a writer made the choices he made.
Dec/16/2009, 9:56 pm Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
GaryBFitzgerald Profile
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Re: Winter Walk Without Snow


Katlin:

You are taking things way too (prosodically) seriously. I did not specifically select the 'the's to mean anything, really. They are just part of the rhythm of the poem. I am simply trying to describe a 'winter walk without snow' where I noted all the life I saw in the 'dead' winter woods. I was trying to catch one of those magical 'transition' moments...the very cusp of winter and spring.

My poetry MO is not to use confusing tropes and structures to obfuscate simple things, as so many do. I try to use simple words to address difficult things. The subjects of my poems are the mysteries we should ponder, not the words describing them.

I don't think the purpose of a poem should be the poem itself. They are intended to communicate...just in a 'higher' language. In my opinion, if one wants meaningless, abstract words to put themselves in a 'mood' or thoughtful state of mind, well...listen to Mozart or Bach.

In the following comment is a strange poem I cobbled together from various internet debates about the meaning and/or purpose of poetry, but it pretty much defines my approach to poetry.

I'll get off my soapbox now.
Dec/17/2009, 9:45 am Link to this post Send Email to GaryBFitzgerald   Send PM to GaryBFitzgerald
 
GaryBFitzgerald Profile
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Re: Winter Walk Without Snow


        Poems

           1.

It’s not about the structure of the sentence
or the constancy of style,
the endless repetition
in forms so long ago expressed.
It’s about the message that’s conveyed,
the vision in the image, the telos in the words,
not the way it’s dressed.

The sea takes many forms and moods,
rough and wild or placid,
but it is that which swims beneath it
that gives it worth.


           2.

Better a dinghy filled to the gunwales with gold
than a King’s fine galleon with an empty hold.


           3.

It’s about the cargo, me buckos, not the boat!



Copyright 2009 - Ponds and Lawns, Gary B. Fitzgerald

Dec/17/2009, 10:54 am Link to this post Send Email to GaryBFitzgerald   Send PM to GaryBFitzgerald
 
Patricia Jones Profile
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Re: Winter Walk Without Snow


quote:

GaryBFitzgerald wrote:

        Poems

           1.

It’s not about the structure of the sentence
or the constancy of style,
the endless repetition
in forms so long ago expressed.
It’s about the message that’s conveyed,
the vision in the image, the telos in the words,
not the way it’s dressed.

The sea takes many forms and moods,
rough and wild or placid,
but it is that which swims beneath it
that gives it worth.


           2.

Better a dinghy filled to the gunwales with gold
than a King’s fine galleon with an empty hold.


           3.

It’s about the cargo, me buckos, not the boat!



Copyright 2009 - Ponds and Lawns, Gary B. Fitzgerald




Amen! Enjoyed this one, Gary.



---
"Don't you worry--I ain't evil, I'm just bad".
~Chris Smither~
Dec/17/2009, 6:18 pm Link to this post Send Email to Patricia Jones   Send PM to Patricia Jones
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: Winter Walk Without Snow


Good poem, Gary. The Taoist in you, and the Way of it (nature), could not be better expressed. I too was struck by the same image Katfriend responded to.

On a different note, I am not sure I can subscribe to the further notions about prosody you express. I mean, to follow your metaphorical lead, what if the cargo is the boat? Or, and closer to the point, what if, in fact, the two cannot be separated out, sorted, set one against the other? Rhetoric, viewed as the art of persuasion, has always been just that, an art. And if the rules of prosody aren't aimed at a rhetorical (persuasive) end you tell me where the case of poetry stands and what makes it any different from prose.

Anyway, my Texas friend, I don't entirely believe you. I've read too much of your poetry to believe you do not give careful attention to sound and rhythm. The attention may operate on a pre-conscious level. But it is there.

Tere
Dec/17/2009, 7:39 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
Katlin Profile
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Re: Winter Walk Without Snow


Hi Gary,

Since you posted your poem in this forum, which is the forum set up for the poet to critic dialogue, I assumed you wanted a critique of the poem, boat and cargo, and not a discussion of cargo alone. If you want a discussion of the cargo but not the boat, you should post the poem in one of the forums which is specifically designed for the poet to reader dialogue (Chalkboard and Billboard, Field Notes or even Ateliers). If you would like me to move this thread to one of those forums, let me know and I will be happy to do so.

You've reminded me of a conversation I once had with Kaltica at poets.org. He wrote the following:

If we know nothing about poetry we can't judge it by anything other than content. An interesting storyline, moving sentiment or a statement with which we emphatically agree or find thought-provoking fulfills every expectation we have from a "perfect" poem. Everyone has a good story to tell so we will run into "great" "poems" every day. After reading a few thousand such efforts, though, we come to understand that poetry is the vehicle, content the passenger. We begin to draw a sharper distinction between good storytelling and good poetry. What the newcomer sees as "perfect" the longtime reader may regard as "prose with linebreaks" or abject doggerel--fine material wasted on poor execution.

to which I responded:

I think that craft is the vehicle, content the passenger, and poetry the ride.

http://www.poets.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=18240

So, I guess I would set up my soapbox somewhere between your two extremes.

I, too, like your "Poems" poem, but you did write it as a poem after all. You didn't, as Richard Hugo directed, communicate by using the telephone. emoticon

Last edited by Katlin, Dec/17/2009, 11:41 pm
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GaryBFitzgerald Profile
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Re: Winter Walk Without Snow


Katlin and Tere:

I do not disagree with you. I did state that I think that poetry is a 'higher' language. The way a poem reads, how it is balanced, is extremely important. What I was trying to say is that it doesn't matter what STYLE a poem is in as long as you can take something away from it. It seems like the most current poetries are just words for word's sake. Pointless exercises, IMHO.

I posted this on Silliman some time back about the 'New' (post-avant) poetry:

"Some convey ideas with words. Others merely convey words with ideas."

Yes, I spend a great deal of time on my poems so that they are balanced and read just right. I use rhyme and rhythm. But hopefully, they all have either a point or a picture within that is memorable.

To me, a poem without a point is like a boat adrift, an empty vessel without purpose or function, no matter how pretty it may be. And, to that effect, another poem:




           Advice to Young Poets


          Just write it pure, boys,
          no gimmick or game.
          Give it balance and rhyme,
          make sure the point’s plain.

          Just say what you feel, girls,
          what you think and you hear.
          Give it rhythm and time
          and make sure the point’s clear.


Copyright 2008 - HARDWOOD-77 Poems, Gary B. Fitzgerald
Dec/18/2009, 12:23 pm Link to this post Send Email to GaryBFitzgerald   Send PM to GaryBFitzgerald
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: Winter Walk Without Snow


Your package of points makes sense to me Gary. And I suspect there is more common ground between your views, Katfriend's and mine than not. I for one, for example, and from time to time, come across poets whose facility for language blows me away. For me the right word, sound, rhythm, combination of metered delivery, these things are hard to establish. And so I envy those for whom the establishment is clearly effortless. But then I can find the content or meaning is hard pressed to scare up. I also find that in such poetry there is nothing left over to adhere to my memory, which is a kind of litmus test. So I get both your viewpoint and Katfriend's.

Tere
Dec/18/2009, 6:33 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
Zakzzz5 Profile
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Re: Winter Walk Without Snow


GaryB,

You show good control in this poem. The poem seems to lie somewhere between the human observer and the scene itself; and the perspective isn't totally resolved for me. It's halfway between "feeling" the experience and looking at a fine woodland painting. Thanks, enjoyed it. Zak

 GaryBFitzgerald wrote:

           Winter Walk Without Snow


We walk through scattered forest’s leaf
           larynx floor which whispers [personification; handled well]
           the pulse of every startled snake,
bird.
Frost wind sings softly, conflicting
with fungal fresh scent of week old rain
and new growth.

           The humus of
           death, the decay…
           and the worms
           eat
the leaves
           and the life
feeds the trees which

all died last October. [why would life feed dead trees?]





Copyright 2006 – Specimens – Selected Poems
 

 
Dec/21/2009, 11:33 am Link to this post Send Email to Zakzzz5   Send PM to Zakzzz5
 
GaryBFitzgerald Profile
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Re: Winter Walk Without Snow



"[why would life feed dead trees?]"

So that they will return to life.

(think humus and roots).
Dec/22/2009, 12:09 pm Link to this post Send Email to GaryBFitzgerald   Send PM to GaryBFitzgerald
 
Zakzzz5 Profile
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Re: Winter Walk Without Snow


GarbyB,

You get the last word, obviously, since it's your poem. But for me, there's a problem because you can't feed something that's dead. Are you thinking making it possible for the acorns to flourish? You can't feed a dead human being, so how can you feed a dead tree?

As usual, if this doesn't help, please disregard my comments. Thanks, Zak

quote:

GaryBFitzgerald wrote:


"[why would life feed dead trees?]"

So that they will return to life.

(think humus and roots).



Dec/23/2009, 3:10 pm Link to this post Send Email to Zakzzz5   Send PM to Zakzzz5
 
GaryBFitzgerald Profile
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Re: Winter Walk Without Snow


Zak...it's a metaphor. The trees aren't really dead...just sleeping. They'll return in the spring.

As will we.

See?
Dec/23/2009, 9:54 pm Link to this post Send Email to GaryBFitzgerald   Send PM to GaryBFitzgerald
 
SteveParker Profile
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Re: Winter Walk Without Snow


Yeah, winter trees still suck up life. But even technically dead trees still suck up life for a long, long time after they are supposedly dead. And then a lot of trees are just partially dead. Oak trees die from within often, and can have huge hollow spaces inside. Their hearts can be utterly dead, and parts of them can be dying for 200 years. Is this a dead tree? In the UK there are famous old trees supported by scaffolding whose centres are all rotted away, but still sprout new leaves every Spring...

Liked the poem.

Cheers,

Steve.
Jan/1/2010, 8:57 pm Link to this post Send Email to SteveParker   Send PM to SteveParker
 
GaryBFitzgerald Profile
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Re: Winter Walk Without Snow


Thank you, Steve. I think you definitely get it!

And thank's to all of you who have said nice things about my poetry.

NOW BUY THE FOOKIN' BOOKS, WILL YA?

:-)

Ya buncha cheapskates, ya!



Last edited by GaryBFitzgerald, Jan/3/2010, 5:57 pm
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Terreson Profile
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Re: Winter Walk Without Snow


Well, Garyman, I would suggest a barter but I can't even get myself published, much less my material. Good to see you around and Happy New Year.

Tere
Jan/3/2010, 6:06 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
GaryBFitzgerald Profile
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Re: Winter Walk Without Snow


So what the hell is that supposed to mean?

You wanna barter...make an offer!

Published, shmublished. Formal recognition by magazines/publishers these days means only that your poetry sucks. Just read the latest New Yorker...or Poetry magazine.

Happy New Year!
Jan/3/2010, 7:58 pm Link to this post Send Email to GaryBFitzgerald   Send PM to GaryBFitzgerald
 
SteveParker Profile
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Re: Winter Walk Without Snow


I'll buy your feckin book. I'm very into the idea of poets buying each other's books. I don't think we should all feel obliged to give them away like this was a hobby. If you email me and give me an easy way to pay like Paypal or something, and autograph the fecker, then I'll definitely buy one. Be delighted to.

Cheers,

Steve.
Jan/3/2010, 8:22 pm Link to this post Send Email to SteveParker   Send PM to SteveParker
 
GaryBFitzgerald Profile
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Re: Winter Walk Without Snow


Steve: I think I was just kidding, but now that I'm sober I'm not really sure.

:-D
Jan/4/2010, 1:39 pm Link to this post Send Email to GaryBFitzgerald   Send PM to GaryBFitzgerald
 


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